The form of Shinto that arose under the extensive influence of Buddhism in Japan beginning in the eighth century. The term might be translated as double Shinto. ? Its key feature is the identification of many of the important Shinto kami, or gods, with Buddhas or bodhisattvas, thereby simplifying a connection between the two faiths. The Sun Goddess Amaterasu, for instance, was identified with a Buddha known in Japanese as Dainichi, and both were worshipped at Amaterasu's shrine at Ise. Japanese emperors, meanwhile, came to be considered as embodiments of both Amaterasu and Dainichi.
The development of Ryobu Shinto helped Buddhism to take hold in rural areas, as it enabled the established kami to accommodate newcomer spirits, and on a larger scale it reflects Japan's openness to religious syncretism. The official rituals of Ryobu Shinto was officially forbidden during the era of State Shinto (ca. 18681945), when leaders wanted to downplay foreign influences such as Buddhism and thought of the school as a form of degraded Shinto.
SEE ALSO: Buddhism; kami; Shinto
Torii gates mark sacred ground at Japan's holy sites | MNN … Travel088